Virtual reality is a modern technology enabling the three-dimensional, computer-generated environment that users may explore and interact with. In this way, simulated environments come alive and can be perceived by the human senses (mostly by, hearing and eyesight). Virtual Reality enriches the user experience and gives them a special ‘near-life’ feel. Entering the gaming industry as a user experience enhancement technology, VR has quickly spread to other sectors due to its ability to deliver rich experiential learning.
Today, the education sector is fully embracing the practical usage of this technology. The primary objective of virtual reality in education is to simplify the learning experience by making it practical and exciting to students. VR education offers an in-depth understanding of academic subjects by allowing experience-rich simulated learning.
Virtual reality is rapidly taking over the education system globally with the dynamics of advancing technology. It stimulates the brain through the senses and enables the students to remember each VR lesson vividly.
How Does Virtual Reality Change the Education Industry?
Although most education systems still impart knowledge to students through the trite ways reading and listening to tutors, some have adopted educational VR and reap the benefits of such innovation. It has a positive impact on both the learners and facilitators.
With the modern tech devices, students can once again feel alive and eager to learn in a virtual environment. Being a new concept, it motivates the learners into achieving better grades since VR simulations are effective and realistic. Teachers will no longer be the boring theoretical robots. This technology takes them to new heights since learners can now explore the practical side instantly in a rich virtual environment.
VR provides a safe platform for risky learning procedures such as chemical experiments, aviation, and medical manipulations. It enhances cooperation and collective learning since students have the freedom to explore this new tech environment, unlike in a conventional classroom. Virtual reality and education go hand in hand in improving the learning process.
An Overview of Today’s Virtual Reality Hardware
The headset is the most critical piece in a VR kit. It resembles a thick pair of spectacles that covers your eyes. The headsets work in synch with headphones and may come with hand controllers popularly known as joysticks and treadmills.
There are different types of VR hardware devices in the global market that vary in price and functionality. The mobile phone VR headsets are the most affordable, unlike the ones that need a computer with high specs to work effectively. Also, you can get a standalone, cordless phone head mounts that do not require exterior hardware for operation.
Applications of Virtual Reality in Education
Virtual reality in education and training is taking center stage as most learning institutions are embracing the use of computer-generated software to teach practical lessons. To make studying experiences better, developers created the best educational VR apps for you like Anne Frank VR House, Discovery VR, and much more.
But Virtual Reality provides many educational benefits for various areas. So, let’s describe them in detail!
Virtual Field Trips
The most popular application of VR at school is the ability to explore different locations on the global map and visit places that students may never access physically for various reasons. For instance, a history class can take students to virtual sites that will give them a real experience they would never achieve in a traditional classroom.
Some students require special attention due to physical disabilities or mental incapacities. Therefore, VR education apps help the learners get better opportunities for adequate academic training. They can study and explore endless possibilities through the headset. Since it uses sight and sound, the students are in a better position to remember each lesson.
A significant portion of investments in Virtual Reality for education focuses on the medical schools and hospitals. Here, the best VR apps for learning are used to train students and medics to perfect their skills in handling patients in different medical conditions such as surgeries and other sensitive procedures standing no errors or imperfections. The simulations play a significant role in preparing both doctors and nurses to lessen the margin of error through frequent practice.
Today, most VR courses cover the fields of history and science-related subjects. However, the computer-generated format applies to other themes and learning areas. It can be used to create content that improves the classroom experience in any subject. For instance, with the help of 360 VR videos students can immerse themselves into studying various subjects − from literature to mathematics.
Advances in technology and the growing Web connectivity have made the world a small global village. Now, with VR software, you can attend any university of your choice online. It offers not only convenience but also a real classroom experience. Now it is quite an expensive affair but in the future, virtual distant learning has massive potential, and it will be a serious competitor to the conventional system of education.
Practical VR-enriched projects provide a solid learning experience by giving students a deeper understanding of the particular subject. Thus, VR offers this platform in a real digital environment for various types of training. It applies for both educational and professional training sessions.
Virtual reality education apps in the design field are a dream come true. They take modeling to another level by enabling students to create images in 3D prototypes. With intricate details and distinct features, you can design, edit, transform, and test your model in the virtual environment. It is an exciting experience for designers since it offers a boundless platform for exploration in a virtual world.
Universities and colleges use VR during the enrollment process to give prospective students a feel of the campus before they join. It helps students get a first-hand experience regarding the learning environment and hence plays a role in their decision making.
Pros And Cons of VR In Education
Virtual Reality changes the entire traditional learning process to an exciting and intriguing experience. It breaks down the four walls and ceiling of a classroom to expand the education system to a liberating digital environment. Virtual reality and learning are gradually transforming to new technological heights that impact learners positively. VR has many benefits in education:
- Enhanced visualization
VR is by far the most advanced technology that heightens visualization by alternating different experiences and realities. It is an effective way of exploring diverse subject areas and places you can never visit with unreachable objects such as the Moon or Jupiter. VR makes the impossible happen by making it seem real.
- Improved education quality
Pictures make learning easier; thus, VR offers students an in-depth understanding of different subject areas. The immersive learning experience facilitates better retention of the educational material due to the VR simulations. Ultimately, it greatly impacts the quality of education across the board.
- Collaborative learning
Today, learners find the traditional classroom setting quite dull. VR integration is an effective method of sparking the interest of learners and enhancing their learning experience. It will also reduce the smartphone addiction among the millennial generation and help them focus on studying.
- Global outreach
VR is an international platform with no language barriers. The developers incorporate multi-language support into the software; thus, any international students can have an equal opportunity to learn via VR apps.
- Better student appraisal
The conventional system of education thrives on the timely and constructive feedback. VR, on the other hand, rewards performance and trials no matter how small. It adopts the gaming reward system to motivate good performance.
- Stimulated academic interest
Students of all ages prefer video content to reading. So, VR spurs curiosity and enthusiasm by delivering relevant video content in the student-friendly form.
VR technology incorporates fun in the classroom. Sitting and learning new information from interesting videos and stunning 3D visuals is not challenging. Entertainment in learning is a plus since students will be more eager to learn and participate in all the lessons interactively. It will boost their overall performance since they enjoy what they are doing.
- Improved research
Virtual Reality is a powerful tool in enhancing research in diverse fields such as medicine. With advances in medical science and education, VR plays a vital role in coming up with improved solutions for disease management and health interventions.
Unfortunately, there are some negative aspects that come hand in hand with Virtual Reality advantages:
- Undermines Human Interaction
VR is a modern technology that affects human interaction. It encourages one to live in a virtual world without communicating with other people instead of interacting in a traditional way to hone interpersonal skills.
- Lacks Flexibility
In a VR setting, you cannot ask questions freely when you don’t understand a particular subject area. Learning processes are different for each student since the intellectual capacity is not the same. Thus, it lacks the flexibility that a conventional classroom setting with live teacher-student collaboration offers.
- Causes addiction
VR addictive like other technological devices, and there is a possibility of more students falling into the hole of addiction. If what a learner experiences in the virtual world is better than reality, they will tend to gravitate towards the VR all the time.
- Poses high expenditures
Modern technology is quite expensive, so it hasn’t reached many people across the globe. It requires massive funding to cut across all the education system levels. For now, it is a tool that only a few can afford, which adds to the educational inequalities rather than erases them.
As anything new, VR possesses enormous positive potential in various areas of human activity. Specifically in education, VR is a welcome change to the traditional instructional forms due to its technological novelty consonant with student interests and an ability to foster risk-free and unlimited experiential learning. With its greater adoption in educational establishments, the only barriers to overcome are the high costs of VR integration in educational settings and teacher training in its proper use to maximize student outcomes.